Hey Music Mag - Issue 2 - October 2018

HeyMusicOfficial

Welcome to the second edition of Hey Mag! This edition includes insight from true legends in the form of ‘The Modfather’, Mr Paul Weller, as well as an interview with Kathy Sledge, who found worldwide fame with one of the most successful female supergroups of the disco era, Sister Sledge. Errollyn Wallen talks about her prolific career in classical music and Ramz, the hot-right-now rapper from South London, talks about his whirlwind year. You'll also meet producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Bill Ryder-Jones. And guest contributor Mosely Trybez makes the case for conversation – and action – surrounding mental health issues in the world of hip-hop. Delve in and enjoy the read.

UPFRONT XXXX

Save the date

The UK celebrates the first

ever National Album Day on

Saturday 13 th October.

To mark 70 years of the iconic format,

National Album Day will celebrate 70 years of

favourite new albums, favourite first albums,

the albums that changed your life and the

ones you just could not live without.

Join in the celebrations at

@AlbumDayUK across the socials

and using #NationalAlbumDay

2 OCTOBER 2018


UPFRONT

PUBLISHER

Hey Music

EDITOR’S

LETTER

EDITOR

Lesley Wright

lesley@heymusic.com

MARKETING DIRECTOR

Darren Haynes

darren@heymusic.com

IN-HOUSE

CONTRIBUTORS

Chelsea Garwood

chelsea@heymusic.com

Aiez Mirza Ahmed

aiez@heymusic.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Aasha Bodhani, Jim

Butler, Kristan J Caryl,

Mosely Trybez, Nick Rice

and Sara Raffaghello

@heymusicofficial

@heymusictweets

@heymusicofficial

@heymusicofficial

www.heymusic.com

LOCATION: London

Hey Mag is published by Hey

Music. All rights reserved.

Reproduction in whole or in part

without written permission is

prohibited. The publisher regrets

that they cannot accept liability for

error or omissions contained in this

publication, however caused.

The opinions and views within this

publication are not necessarily

those of the publisher or editors.

All credits are accurate at the time

of writing but may be subject to

change.

Where does music take you? Truth is, it can take you

anywhere and everywhere. It’s a catalyst for new and

never-ending adventures.

I’m curious as to which gigs, clubs or festivals have rocked

your world recently? My most recent big music adventure

was a trip to the legendary – and somewhat intense – Burning

Man festival, in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, where I

bounced around between stages and camps, bonding with

complete strangers over bowel-shaking basslines.

Seven days at Burning Man can also be a bit of a physical

challenge. After my own experience, I imagine it to be

quite like giving birth – painful towards the end but with an

extended family once it’s over.

My newfound friends and I are now plotting to lock in a

reunion at another festival somewhere in the world. It’s music

that’s brought us together.

But you don’t have to physically travel for music to

transport you elsewhere. Oftentimes, music will sweep me

off on my own little adventure through my imagination via a

number of emotions. And that can be just as powerful.

On that note, more power to Paul Weller, who’s still

smashing the album charts after 40 glorious years in the

music business.

Yup, it’s fair to say that cover star Paul Weller and Kathy

Sledge, who also features in this issue, are bona fide legends.

While we salute their incredible careers, we’re also keeping

our ears pinned back for the legends of tomorrow.

Have you discovered a hot young artist with that sort of

potential? If you have, tip us the wink here at .

We’d love to hear from you.

Lesley Wright

HEYMUSIC.COM

3


UPFRONT XXXX

PRS for Music members Dreamwife performing at PRS Presents

FOR MUSIC

Music wouldn’t exist without the work of songwriters,

composers and publishers. We’re here to represent them

and ensure that they are rewarded for their creations.

BECAUSE MUSIC MATTERS

4 OCTOBER 2018

prsformusic.com


UPFRONT

CONTENTS

UPFRONT

6 NEWS

What’s cooking across the UK

and around the world.

FEATURES

12 FINDING MEANING

British icon Paul Weller reveals what’s

on his mind following the recent

release of his new album,

True Meanings.

18 DIFFERENT CLASS

Errollyn Wallen claims classical music

belongs to everybody.

22 AIMING HIGHER

Arguably one of Liverpool’s most

talented sons, Bill Ryder-Jones

creates music for elevation.

26 AN IDLE MIND

Bristol’s independent record label Idle

Hands celebrates its 50th release.

6

30

30 MUSIC BY NUMBERS

Amazing stats behind the incredible

Amsterdam Dance Event.

32 LOST IN MUSIC

Kathy Sledge has music coursing

through her veins.

34 LET’S TALK ABOUT IT

Mental health in hip-hop is a growing

concern. Mosely Trybez says it’s time

to be more vocal on the issue.

32

12

36 MAKE BELIEVE

It’s been a whirlwind year for Ramz.

BACKSTAGE

38 BOSSING IT!

Nikki Wright-McNeill recaps her road

to career satisfaction in music PR.

34

HEYMUSIC.COM

5


UPFRONT AROUND THE UK

DISCOVER: AUNTIE FLO

Radio Highlife (Brownswood, 2018)

Auntie Flo’s latest is his most authentic distillation of afro drums to date. Airy rhythms

are run through with collaborators from Senegal, Cuba and London, while tracks range

from broken beat to string-laced soul and feature found sounds from Moroccan markets

and bustling townships, adding up to an essential and worldwide musical adventure.

BESTIVAL LIVES ON!

Good news, party people! Bestival and

Camp Bestival live on. Both English music

festivals have been snapped up for £1.1

million after the company behind the muchloved

events was placed into administration.

It’s reported that Richmond Group is buying

the festival business, after lending Bestival

Group £1.6 million last year. Richmond

Group’s James Benamor said he was a longtime

fan, adding: “We are keen to ensure this

fantastic institution goes on.”

Launched on the Isle of Wight in 2004 by

Rob Da Bank, Bestival relocated to Dorset,

in 2017. Chaka Khan and Grace Jones

headlined this year. The family-orientated

Camp Bestival launched in 2006, with

Simple Minds and Rick Astley delighting

this year’s crowds.

6 OCTOBER 2018


SWEET LIKE

HUNEE

London’s XOYO has been

reviving the beauty of the DJ

residency for a while now

and next in line is Hunee.

The Rush Hour associate

is one of the most loved

selectors in the scene.

Constantly bemused by his

own success, he spreads

messages of peace and

unity through his persona, as

well as his carefully dug out

and expertly crafted sets,

which never fail to leave a

lasting impression

From Latin to techno, afro

to disco, forgotten soul to

rare funk, he can do it all,

often in the same set.

His 10-week residency

starts on 12 October and

plays out each Friday until 14

December. Joining him will

be an unsurprisingly eclectic

mix of DJs who cover house,

tropical, Balearic, techno,

cosmic, wave music and

plenty in between, such

as MCDE, Palms Trax, DJ

Nobu, Antal, Juju & Jordash,

Ruf Dug and Cosmic Slop,

amongst a fine list of others.

MASSIVE ATTACK

MILESTONE

Massive Attack’s first three albums from 1991 to 1998

have to be up there as one of the strongest runs of records

any band has ever put out. Each one very much helped

to define the trip-hop sound. Dark yet beautiful, intense

yet alluring, and oozing standout songs that still sound

futuristic today, they continue to inspire and influence

generations of music makers.

To mark the 20th

anniversary of Mezzanine, the

latter of the three, the Bristol

group has announced that a

special double CD and vinyl

box-set reissue is planned

for November. The double

CD includes the original

album, with classic tracks

like Angel, Risingson and

Teardrop newly remastered,

plus previously unreleased

Mad Professor remixes from the same period (Mad

Professor also remixed their 1994 album Protection as No

Protection). The triple vinyl box-set, which comes a month

later in December, will have a heat-sensitive cover and

new imagery from Robert Del Naja and Nick Knight. Earlier

this year, the band also revealed that they were encoding

the album into DNA with the help of a Swiss firm, which is

nothing if not intriguing.

HEYMUSIC.COM

7


UPFRONT AROUND THE UK

NEW AMY

DOC ON

THE WAY

Keep your eyes peeled for a new film about the life

of the late soul singer Amy Winehouse. Called Back

to Black, it tells the story behind her final album of the

same name and features previously unseen footage and

interviews with the likes of Mark Ronson, who produced

the album. A bonus feature shows footage of Winehouse

playing a small show at Riverside Studios in London, in

2008. Release date is 2 November.

PUSHING THE

BOUNDARIES

From the synth pop days

of The Human League via the

IDM movement spearheaded

by Warp Records, on

through bleeps and bass

and The Black Dog’s techno,

Sheffield has always had

a vital music scene with a

unique character.

Continuing in that tradition

of forward-thinking and

experimental music is No

Bounds festival. Its debut

last year made a real impact,

and the 2018 edition, running

12 – 14 October, is worthy of

anyone’s attention.

Additions for this year

include a special Improv

Stage, while the rest of

the festival plays out over

eight venues across the

city, including Hope Works,

Trafalgar Warehouse and

Heeley Swimming Pool.

There’s an extensive

programme of talks, film

screenings, panels and

workshops planned, with

topics covered including

coding and modular

synthesis, while thoughtprovoking

artists like Aïsha

Devi, rhythm innovator

Errorsmith (above), New

York outfit Machine Woman,

China’s live specialist Object

Blue, Planet Mu boss Mike

Paradinas and Berlin’s Paula

Temple all line-up.

8 OCTOBER 2018


MUSE PROMISE

EPIC NEW SHOW

With new album Simulation Theory due to

drop on 9 November, Muse are promising

“something that no-one’s ever seen before”

when they hit the road next year. Their highlyanticipated

European and North American

album tour will stop off at three cities in the

UK – Bristol, London and Manchester –

although dates had yet to be revealed as this

issue went to press.

Teasing fans about the upcoming tour,

frontman Matt Bellamy promised it would

“blow people’s minds”. He added: “We’re

lucky because we’re living through this time

where there’s all this new technology. Every

time you come to do a tour, there’s always

something new you can use.”

The album is produced by Mike Elizondo,

Rich Costey, Shellback and Timbaland.

REDISCOVER: JOHN BELTRAN

Ten Days of Blue (Peacefrog, 1996)

A melancholic electronic masterpiece with moments of breezy bliss, Latin-inspired melodies and sophisticated

ambient soundscapes. It’s beatless yet dynamic and compelling, with a fragility and lightness that makes it

feel heavenly. Fans of early Four Tet will love its mix of synthetic and instrumental sounds, as will anyone who

has ever had their heart broken. range from broken beat to string-laced soul and feature found sounds from

Moroccan markets and bustling townships. It adds up to an essential and worldwide musical adventure.

HEYMUSIC.COM

9


UPFRONT AROUND THE WORLD

Aya Nakamura

Lxandra

Rosalía

NEW ANNUAL MUSIC

PRIZE ANNOUNCED

The arrival of the new Music Moves Europe

Talent Awards is a positive step for the next

generation of artists emerging from Europe.

Its aim is to “celebrate emerging artists

who represent the European sound of today

and tomorrow”. In all, 24 artists have been

nominated in six categories including rock,

pop, electronic, r&b/urban, hip-hop/rap and

singer-songwriter. The nominees include

postrels Lxandra from Finland and Danish

artist Soleima, with French R&B singer Aya

Nakamura and Spain’s Rosalía facing each

other in the R&B/urban category.

Winners will be presented with their awards

at a ceremony during the opening night

of Eurosonic Noordeslag in January 2019.

They’ll also each be rewarded with a tailormade

training programme and financial

support for touring and promotion. There’s

also a special public choice award.

The awards are implemented in close cooperation

with the European Commission and

financially supported by Creative Europe. The

hope is that the Music Moves Europe Talent

Awards will “enhance creativity, diversity and

competitiveness” in the years ahead.

10 OCTOBER 2018


BIT OF ROUGH

Parisians can look forward

to Rough Trade opening

up in the French capital.

With music stores in East

and West London, Bristol,

Nottingham and New York,

Rough Trade’s international

expansion continues

following investment from

French media and events

company Les Nouvelles

Éditions Indépendantes.

The French store has been

advertising for staff.

GET CARTER

It’s been a long time

coming – four years, in fact

– but American rapper Lil

Wayne has finally released

his Tha Carter V album, after

it was locked in a lengthy

legal battle with Cash

Money Records.

Taking to Twitter, Wayne

said: “With this album I’m

giving you more than me.

This is years of work.”

Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg,

Kendrick Lamar and the late

XXXTentacion make guest

appearances on the album.

MICRO

VIBES IN

THE UAE

Boasting an “all-encompassing array of immersive

environments that showcase the intersection of music,

art and innovative technology”, MICRO MUTEK.

AE returns to various venues in Dubai for six days of

bleeding-edge sounds, in October.

‘Hemisphere 141’ brings a tri-dimensional and high

definition dome to Dubai World Trade Centre [14 – 17

October] for a string of 360° immersive live performances

in association with the Society for Arts and Technology

from Montréal, while Digi Lab offers amateurs and pros

the chance to get their hands on the future of music

production technology and dip into workshops hosted by

legendary electronic producer A Guy Called Gerald.

Nocturne 1 & 2 at Stereo Arcade nightclub, on 18 and

19 October, promises “a different slant” on clubbing

and there’s more jaw-dropping immersive AV magic

from Italy’s Michela Pelusio (pictured below), at Dubai

Knowledge Park Amphitheatre, on 19 October. This

year’s event is in association with GITEX Future Stars,

the fastest-growing start-up event in the region.

Mehdi Ansari, co-founder of Dubai’s renowned Analog

Room and co-founder of MICRO MUTEK.AE said:

“We’d like to shift the emphasis away from clubbing

and partying and towards a new perspective on the

way electronic music and audiovisual practices can be

profound, inspiring and revelatory.”

HEYMUSIC.COM

11


FINDIN

FEATURE PAUL WELLER

MEAN

12 OCTOBER 2018


Words_Andrew Arthur/PA/The Interview People

With The Jam,

The Style Council and

as a solo artist, Paul Weller

is regarded as one of the

most influential British

musicians of his generation.

Following the recent release

of his True Meanings album,

discovers what’s on

his mind

G

“ there was ever a time in life that I might

If be reflective, it would be around turning

60. Which is pretty monumental.

“I think it’s also quite distressing, I

suppose, the thought of my mortality.

Without being morbid, which I don’t feel it is.

ING

But I can’t help but think about how f******

quick it has all gone, more than anything.

And how much more have I got left?

“I don’t spend too long pondering on it.

There’s no point. But it’s certainly a time

when you have to take stock of that.”

Having become a sexagenarian this year,

‘The Modfather’ has entered a period of

his life where, for once, he is momentarily

looking back. Weller acknowledges reaching

the milestone did impact upon his latest

album, the recently released True Meanings,

a collection of intimate, acoustic songs.

“It certainly informed some of the themes

on the record. I don’t think it’s particularly

nostalgic, but it’s definitely reflective.”

His fourteenth solo album and twenty-

HEYMUSIC.COM

13


FEATURE PAUL WELLER

“If it’s in your blood,

it’s a hard thing to stop

doing, whatever level

we’re talking about”

third studio album, True Meanings was

sitting at No.2 in the UK Album Charts as

this issue went to press. Celebrated for an

eclectic body of work over his solo career,

his latest longplayer, with its delicate but lush

orchestration, has been described in some

quarters as “folk-rock”.

In a behind-the-scenes mini film about the

making of the album, Weller admits: “I don’t

know what sort of genre it is, I have no idea.

For me, they’re just good songs, you know,

lyrically, melodically, quite simplistic.

“Whenever you get an acoustic guitar out

and some strings, it always sounds kinda

sad anyway. But I don’t get a sadness from

it. I think it’s quite the opposite for me. It’s

just stating where I am at the moment, really.

One man’s journey up to this point.”

In fact, it’s Weller’s most collaborative

album to date, input coming from Rod

Ardent of the Zombies [Soul Searchers and

White Horses], folk legends Martin Carthy

and Danny Thompson [Come Along], Lucy

Rose [Books] and Noel Gallagher [White

Horses and Books].

After accumulating songs over a five-year

period, Weller enlisted the help of co-writers

to finish some of them. One of the four joint

efforts on True Meanings is Bowie, which

Weller composed with singer-songwriter

Erland Cooper. The song is a tribute to the

late David Bowie – cleverly incorporating

some Bowie quotes into the lyrics – as

well as a broader reflection on loss. Like

Weller, the Starman enjoyed a long-lasting

career defined by transformation and Weller

confides Bowie’s death in 2016 affected him.

“It made me sad for an awful long time.

Because he had done so little for so long

and then he came out with The Next Day

and then a couple years later with Blackstar.

There was all this activity and I thought,

‘Great, he’s well again and he’s back on it’.

So it was a shock for me when he died and I

was saddened by it.

“When me and my wife had twin boys six

years ago, he sent us a very nice bunch of

flowers and a card saying congratulations.

That was really sweet. One of our boys is

called Bowie as well, obviously named after

him. My wife is an even bigger fan than me.”

Age does not seem to have mellowed the

fire in Weller’s stomach when it comes to

politics. Many of his songs with The Jam

14 OCTOBER 2018


AT A GLANCE

1970s Weller puts together the first incarnation

of The Jam in 1972. Their first single, In The

City, breaks into the UK Top 40 in 1977. Other

tracks also dent the Top 40 but it’s The Eton

Rifles that gives the new wave/mod revivalists

their first Top 10 hit – peaking at No.3 in 1979.

Tom Ford, aka Peverelist,

1980s The band chalks up their first No.1 with

Going Underground in early 1980 but The Jam

disbands at the end of 1982. They go out in

style with Beat Surrender earning them their

fourth UK chart topper and sell-out concerts at

Wembley Arena and the Brighton Centre.

Weller forms The Style Council in 1983 and the

band experiments with pop, jazz and blueeyed

soul, scoring seven UK Top 10 hits, and

performing at Live Aid, Wembley Stadium, in

1985. But the band’s popularity wanes in the

late ’80s and they find themselves without a

record deal.

1990s Having gone solo, Weller’s 1992 selftitled

jazz-guitar album reaches No.8 in the UK

album charts. His fourth solo album – 1995’s

Stanley Road – marks a return to his more

guitar-based style and hits No.1, becoming

the best-selling album of his career. Two other

albums sit comfortably in the Top 10 before the

decade is out.

were noted for lyrics about working class life.

The Eton Rifles, released in 1979, offered a

withering attack on a privileged social elite.

He’s still vocal about the political climate in

the UK.

“This government is hopeless. All of

them. Look at them, they’re like ridiculous

caricatures of silly toffs. We’re all sick of it.

I think it’s time for a change. But to expect

that any one party is going to wave a wand

and it’s all going to be different is absurd.

I think people have just got to do it for

themselves, really.

2000s His Illumination [2004] and 22 Dreams

[2008] longplayers both reach the top spot in

the UK Album Charts. In 2006 Weller receives

the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BRIT

Awards and he’s back in 2009 to pick up the

gong for Best Male Solo Artist.

2010s After taking home the Godlike Genius

Awards at the 2010 NME Awards, Weller

releases his Wake Up The Nation album and

is nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in

the same year. He’s presented with the Ivor

Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

His Sonic Kicks album hits No.1 in 2012, and

another four albums follow before the recent

release of True Meanings.

HEYMUSIC.COM

15


FEATURE PAUL WELLER

“Compared to the 1970s

and 1980s, there’s a lot of

things that are way better now.

People’s attitudes in general

are better. People are fairer

and open-minded; they’re

well-travelled. I think, generally

speaking, there is less racism.

“I don’t believe in the idea

of ‘divided Britain’ – I think

that’s a lot of boll**ks. I could

cite many examples of people

being totally united, all colors,

all religions, everyone. ‘Divided

Britain’ is just another tool

of the Tories and right wing

propagandists.”

From the new album, Books

reflects on how governments

have twisted and manipulated

religion into a catalyst for

wars. “The starting phrase for

most religions, whatever way

it’s phrased, is ‘thy shall not

kill’. Which sounds like a pretty good place

to start,” reckons Weller. “Who am I to knock

other people’s faith? I wouldn’t do that. I

think whatever makes people happy or gets

them through their lives is ultimately a good

thing, I suppose. But the way it’s used and

abused and manipulated by the people in

control is the antithesis of what it’s supposed

to be about.”

Weller offers a measured response when

asked if he feels contemporary politics

and society is

not reflected in

popular music

as it was in

previous decades.

“I don’t think

that’s true in hiphop

or grime, is

it? Those artists

seem to be still

telling it like it is. But in pop or rock? I guess

not. I think it’s inevitable, really, after 20 years

or so of wishy-washy politics.

“You have to ask, has music still got that

cultural force? I think the last shout on all

of that was in the 1990s. I don’t think music

holds the same place for people. I think

“Humility is a quality that

we must find at some

point in our lives. It’s a

good thing to learn”

some of that’s down to it being disposable;

you don’t have to pay for it. Music doesn’t

have the same cultural value, possibly.”

Had he not become a successful musician,

Weller says he’d be “playing in pubs and

clubs in Surrey. I’ve got mates who were in

bands at the same time as I was and are the

same age as me now. They still play gigs at

the weekend. They’ve got day jobs but still

love going out playing. If it’s in your blood,

it’s a hard thing to stop doing, whatever

level we’re

talking about.”

For many, Weller

is also considered

a fashion icon

but does he find

it unusual seeing

men with haircuts

he has inspired.

Laughing, he

says: “Yeah, sometimes. What can I say? I’ve

copied so many of my heroes’ haircuts.

Sometimes with success, sometimes it’s a

complete disaster. But I don’t walk around

thinking I’m a style icon. Humility is a quality

that we must find at some point in our lives.

It’s a good thing to learn.”

16 OCTOBER 2018


HEY UPFRONT

HEYMUSIC.COM

17


CLASS

FEATURE ERROLLYN WALLEN

DIFFERE

Singer-songwriter, classical

composer and workaholic,

Errollyn Wallen pauses for

breath to speak to

Words_Jim Butler

18 OCTOBER 2018


Tom Ford, aka Peverelist,

NT

Anyone

that’s paid attention

to British composer

and musician Errollyn Wallen’s prolific career

would know that her appetite for composing

and performing is insatiable. Her love of the

creative process – however painstaking and

drawn-out it might be – is undiminished.

“I’m just loving composing at the minute,”

she avows cheerfully from her home. “As you

get a bit older you become more aware of

the options there are [in composing]. I don’t

allow myself to get stuck. I have realised that

a composition is a many-layered activity,

so even if I’m thinking I don’t know what

music should follow here, I can think about

the dynamics of the piece, the tempo. I’ve

become more patient.”

She remains incredibly busy. When we

speak, at the beginning of October, she

outlines her fertile year to date. She’s already

written 13 works, is in the planning process

of staging shows for the next two years and

just two days ago returned from Wyoming,

where she’d been on an artists’ residency.

“To be in place where everyone understands

artistic endeavour was wonderful,” she

Photos_ Dominic Harris

“I would love every

child to have access

to learning a musical

instrument for free”

HEYMUSIC.COM

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FEATURE ERROLLYN WALLEN

expounds enthusiastically

when explaining the premise

of the residency.

She was surrounded by

fellow musicians, writers,

painters and the like.

Not only did this have

the invigorating effect of

illuminating the creative

spark, the retreat, near

the panoramic Bighorn

mountains, gave her

something even more crucial

to any artist: time.

“I spend so much time

organising things that being

at the residency freed me

up from the day-to-day drag

of shopping and all of that

stuff. I had my own log cabin,

with a grand piano and my

own bedroom and my own

facilities, and then I could

join everyone later… all our

meals were cooked for us, so

it freed up so much time.”

And while the point of the month-long

residency at the Ucross Foundation (Wallen

did manage to escape rural Wyoming and

make it over to the bright lights of Los

Angeles to perform at the American

premiere of her Concerto Grosso) was to

work productively, she struck up a number

of friendships (“some lifelong”) and there’s

even talk of collaborative relationships

down the line.

“There was a singer who was so incredible

that I want her to sing on my next album,”

she says. “And there were two other artists

– one a visual artist and the other an author –

and I was thinking there has to be ways that

we can work together in the future.”

For Wallen, her work is everything. The

beautiful mundanity of everyday life might

prevent her from devoting as much time to

her searing compositions as she’d like but

she remains productive. She’s got better at

snatching moments of time to work on her

music when they present themselves.

She’s nothing if not driven. A cod

psychologist might explain her determination

away by her upbringing, which while

not unconventional, was certainly not

20 OCTOBER 2018


emblematic of the traditional path trod by

classical musicians. Born in Belize (then

British Honduras), her parents brought her to

London when she was two, where she was

raised by her aunt and uncle in Tottenham.

Although the early ’60s are ostensibly

defined as a period of colourful pop and rock

& roll awakenings, it was orchestral music’s

power, drama and its

sense of storytelling

that switched a light

on in Wallen’s head.

“There were so

many amazing

colours,” she

recalls. “I thought

it was incredible. I

remember going to

ballet lessons and dancing to Chopin and

loving the music. I got the bug and I liked

the way you could go on a journey with this

music and each journey was so different

and each composer would give you a

different journey. I had no thought of being a

composer. Nobody in my family really knew

what a composer was. I just got on with it in

a way.”

And yet she was actually composing. When

she was just nine years old she wrote a piece

for her class at school to sing and perform.

At school she learned piano and then the

violin. That’s why she says she’s heartbroken

at how the arts – granted, in the face of

brutal and sweeping government cuts –

have been marginalised in

British schools.

“I learned those

instruments back in the days

when any child could learn

an instrument. For free. So it

upsets me more than I can

express. Because what it

also means is that classical

music is, and I see it in the

students I teach, becoming,

or has become, the preserve

of the middle class with

extra income. We have lost

a whole generation of talented

people because music training

is very intensive.”

Music is the very

essence of life.

It’s not an add-on”

Classical music, she avows, belongs to

everybody. And as someone whose status

as a black British female composer means

she’s often championed the cause of the

underdog and the outsider, she’s being

sincere. She was the first black woman to

have a piece – Concerto for Percussion and

Orchestra – performed at the Proms back in

1998 (“I remember

thinking I’d better

remember this

because no-one else

will,” she modestly

recollects). She was

commissioned to

write for the opening

ceremony of the

2012 Paralympics

and alongside her Ivor Novello Award, she’s

also an MBE.

“I would love every child to have access to

learning a musical instrument for free,” she

declares forcefully. “To me, music is the very

essence of life. It’s not an add-on.”

An adjunct to this is her belief that “more

experienced musicians have to look out for

our younger counterparts”, she says.

“We have to realise we’re all in a

continuum together,” concludes Wallen. “It

feels good to hand on whatever knowledge I

have, and I feel very invigorated by some of

the young composers I’ve been working

with. I’m very excited about the future of

music, to be honest.”

HEYMUSIC.COM

21


FEATURE BILL RYDER-JONES

WITHOUT

MUSIC LIFE

WOULD BE

A MISTAKE

An in-demand producer,

composer, multiinstrumentalist

and an

unfailingly authentic

solo artist, Bill Ryder-

Jones discusses

integrity, his journey

with mental health and

filling the six hours of

silence before bedtime

Words_Nick Rice

The back-terrace

garden of the café

in West Kirby where we meet up with Bill

Ryder-Jones is lively for a Monday morning.

Bill is still bunged up from a cold he caught

just before a string of recent live dates.

He made it through the gigs though, so an

informal chat is no bother. Bill and I have had

several long talks since his solo career began

in 2011 with If… – the sublime orchestral

album conceived as a soundtrack to the

22 OCTOBER 2018


Italo Calvino novel, If on a Winter’s Night a

Traveller, so with coffee on the table, we’re

straight into it.

On 2 November Domino release Bill’s

fourth LP, Yawn. Like its predecessors, A

Bad Wind Blows in My Heart and West Kirby

County Primary, one of the most distinctive

things about the album’s songs is that as

well as making you listen, they make you

feel. There’s an emotionally wrought quality

that elevates the work.

Reflecting on the push and pull between

writing songs for pure artistic expression and

the hovering notion of what people might

want to hear, Bill says: “I can never write the

stock little song that isn’t personal because

I think people will now feel short-changed.

At the start of every album I get a call from

my manager, who says, ‘You know everyone

at radio loves you and they’re desperate to

play your music,’ so, I think, ‘I’m 35, I own

nothing, I never have any money – maybe I

should see this a bit more as a career and

try and do something that might enable me

to learn how to drive or something… adult’.

I always do try at the start of a record to do

HEYMUSIC.COM

23


FEATURE BILL RYDER-JONES

something more accessible, but inevitably

I realise that it’s not what I’m good at. Then

I make a record based on how I’m feeling –

and that’s what the records are always.”

This integrity behind Bill’s musical output

– which in 2015 saw him scrap an album’s

worth of material because it wasn’t right

nor honest enough – means that what does

make it onto record is redoubtably the

artist’s uncompromised intention. While the

commercial aspect of his career, and the fact

the critical acclaim doesn’t pay the rent may

rankle, it doesn’t knock him off course.

“I left The Coral with six grand… that was

after a huge career with multiple hits. I didn’t

have a manager or a lawyer at the time so

you can read between the lines there. The

real issue in my life though is that six hours

before bed. How do I fill that silence?”

It’s no small thing to choose artistic

integrity over fortune and his stance on

the matter prompts a question about

philosophical convictions. “The only

thing that ever really made sense was

existentialism, but I’ve never been able to

put it into practice because I care about

people too much,” he explains.

The reply brings to mind the German

philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who was

fundamental to the existentialist movement.

“God has given us music so that above

all it can lead us upwards. Music unites all

qualities: it can exalt us, divert us, cheer

us up, or break the hardest of hearts with

the softest of its melancholy tones. But

its principal task is to lead our thoughts to

higher things, to elevate, even to make us

tremble,” Nietzsche wrote, aged 13.

Bill’s enduring focus, and his appeal, is

firmly fixed on creating music for elevation.

“I believe wholeheartedly in music and the

creation of music and what that does for

me,” he says, adding: “Without sounding

like a 16-year old that’s just discovered The

Smiths, melody is my God. That’s the thing

that makes me feel better.”

Bill’s struggles with his mental health have

been widely covered in the past and he’s

always been candid about the episodal

dissociative disorder he’s suffered from.

“It’s a bit of a weird time for me,” muses

Bill. “I looked at myself last year and I

couldn’t really recognise myself, not in any

dissociative way, more like, ‘I’m 35 and I

remember being 18’. And for a moment I was

like, ‘God, remember who you were at 18?’ I

was very sensitive and very caring and I think

I became quite hardened and quite resentful.

Particularly with the money thing… just look

at the musicians who are full of money and

24 OCTOBER 2018


Photos_ Ki Price

part of 15 years. And it was a real conscious

decision to not be numb. And after six

months of it, I’m going ‘Hell! I remember how

hard it was to be 18’. I’m really like, ‘S**t, the

world is cruel and I’m a delicate little pansy

who’s been pretending that they’re hard and

weathered for 15 years’.”

Whilst he’s coughing and laughing about

how hard it is to get by day to day, Bill is

actually feeling very positive about the future.

“I’m in a mode of thought now where I

probably won’t have my opinion changed by

anyone… after a long period of numbness I

just have to be alive and feel life again. That’s

going to take me wherever it does – and

that’s who I am – and it’ll be good.

“There are a lot of musicians who are

similar to me, who do think there is more to

being a musician than having the big stage

thing and playing a character. Musicians that

“Without sounding like

a 16-year old that’s just

discovered The Smiths,

melody is my God”

void of talent. Or not even talent, just void

of any real purpose in the furtherment of art

and bringing people together, aside from

people who just want to go out and ‘have it.’

“Anyway, I made the conscious decision

to be more like I was when I was 18 and

subsequently stopped drinking for half

a year. I also decided to stop taking my

medication because I realised that I’d been

numbing myself in various ways for the best

want to be part of the dialogue of humans

trying to understand their place in the world.

Bill mentions artists such as Gruff Rhys,

Eros Childs, Nick Cave and Geoff Barrow,

and clarifies: “The people who did what they

did regardless… people who did what they

did to fill that silence that I talked about.”

Those daily six hours of his before bed

may soon be filled with work on another

orchestral concept album. The inspiration for

which is another book, this time a collection

of essays by Aldous Huxley.

With steely certainty in his clear eyes, Bill

winds up our conversation saying: “The

Huxley book is called Music at Night but I’m

going to title it The Rest is Silence because

there’s this beautiful phrase he says, this is

not verbatim but it’s, ‘Nothing comes as

close to expressing the inexpressible as

music… the rest is silence’.”

HEYMUSIC.COM

25


FEATURE IDLE HANDS

A N

IDLE

MIND

Stories of independent record labels and shops

closing down are all too commonplace these

days. With its 50th milestone release, Bristol’s

Idle Hands is bucking that trend. enjoys the

journey with founder Chris Farrell

Words_Kristan J Caryl

26 OCTOBER 2018



and the late Joni, forme

“Boredom was

definitely a factor,”

says flame-haired and influential Bristol

DJ, producer and record store owner Chris

Farrell of the reasons he started his Idle

Hands label back in 2009. “Wanting to

put a record out that Hardwax stocked

was another.”

At the time he was working at the Rooted

Records shop and doing political organising

the rest of the week. “I think I needed

something else.”

This month, the label puts out its 50th EP,

which is a mini miracle in the current climate,

where scores of new labels pop up every

month, and the resurgence of vinyl means

cutting and pressing records is, conversely,

harder than ever.

It was his boss at Rooted Records – Tom

Ford, aka Peverelist, who produced the

first record on the label, and is behind the

50th – who kicked him “up the a***” and

gave Farrell the motivation to start the label.

Eighteen months later, when Rooted had to

close, Farrell also went on to set up a record

shop under the same name, and it is now a

vital hub in the city.

From day one, Idle Hands had a broad

remit. The first few releases encompassed

technoid dubstep, deep house, tropical

UK funky and slo-mo 4/4 beats, and that

variation continues to this day. Farrell – a

big fan of reggae, sound system culture and

post punk, as well as more traditional dance

music – says that was always the plan.

“I like too much different music to just

settle on one thing,” he says, before

recognising that he might have had more,

and quicker, success had he stuck to one

sound, but that the label would have likely

gone out of fashion well before getting

anywhere near the current milestone.

That IDLE50 EP features Left Hand, a

joyous, Bristol-style piano house cut with

a booming bottom-end, and Right Hand,

a dubby techno jam that is pure UK style.

HEYMUSIC.COM

27


FEATURE IDLE HANDS

It follows in the label’s tradition of putting

out music that’s most often produced by

friends and locals turned globe-trotting

talents like Kowton, Hodge, A Sagittariun,

Shanti Celeste and Facta. Bumping vocal

house, churning drum rhythms, deep techno,

ambient albums and sparse drone tracks

have all featured along the way, making the

label as diverse and individual as any in

the scene.

When Idle Hands started, Bristol was the

centre of the dance music universe. It was

the home of the most exciting dubstep and

bass-heavy house and techno in the world.

But the fast-moving

dance music world

takes no prisoners,

and just a few years

later the scene

had moved on

and artists, record

stores and labels

were trying to find

new identities.

“That was an exciting time,” remembers

Farrell. “I grew up at the tail-end of what

you could loosely call acid house and when

I started going out to drum & bass raves in

the late ’90s it was already a bit sh**. Older

folks would be telling us about how good

the old days were, everything was better

and so on. So to see a scene like dubstep

emerge, being made my people who were

my contemporaries, was really exciting.”

Because his own tastes remain so broad,

Farrell didn’t personally struggle when the

spotlight moved on. “If anything, it was fun

watching other people realign,” he says.

“The label has always been about the subtle

changes that happen in dance music, so it

doesn’t scare me. Dialectical materialism

taught me that

change is the

“Dialectical materialism

taught me that change is

the only constant so you

have to embrace it”

only constant

so you have to

embrace it.”

One thing that

doesn’t change

is the need for

capital to run

a label. “The

label, like myself, isn’t primarily motivated

by making money,” says Chris, “but if I don’t

have it, I can’t put records out.”

28 OCTOBER 2018


THE ART OF SELLING RECORDS

Record stores can be intimidating places.

Rumours abound that the quality of music

you get tipped on depends on your look

and your character. Is that true? We asked

Chris for the lowdown...

Tom Ford, aka Peverelist

“I’ve been in enough record shops over

the years where people think they are

a bit special because they’re behind

the counter. I don’t want Idle Hands to

be like that. If I have something come

in secondhand that I know a regular

has been looking for, I’ll put that by for

them, but there is no elitism in terms of

new releases people get – it’s my job to

make sure I have enough copies so that

everyone who might want one gets one.

“We’ve have had many characters over

the years but these days most people

through the door are vinyl buyers or

curious locals. I still get a kick out of one

of my regulars who I’ve been serving for

10 years or more still calling me Marky.

I’ve completely given up telling him my

name is Chris.”

That might be the thing that’s kept him up

at night most often, but it isn’t how he judges

the success of the records he releases. “If

the artist is happy, I’m happy,” he says. “If

it sells well, even better. If people are still

playing it a few years later better still.”

One record he says was rather slept on,

though, was Kung Funk, a B-side cut on

Rachael’s You’re Driving Me EP in 2012. “I

feel it went a bit unnoticed. It was only ever

Harry Midland who got really excited by it,

which in fairness was enough.”

Running a label is a dark art. Knowing what

to sign and when, and just as importantly

what not to sign, even if the music is good, is

a skill that takes years of practice. “It isn’t a

precise science,” reckons Chris. “I’ve spent

countless hours in the pub chatting with

mates who run other long-standing labels

and we can’t figure it out. I just know when

I know. A tune does need to have that ‘Idle

Hands’ sound though. I did a podcast last

year where they asked it to be all Idle Hands

releases, and I was pleased at how much of

the back catalogue stands up.”

Chris recognises that a lot has changed

since the label’s first release. “Bristol has

changed, the music industry has changed,”

but what hasn’t is his relationship with

Peverelist, so it was always going to be he

who produced the label’s 50th EP.

“Tom is now established as one of the UK’s

most forward-thinking producers of the last

20 years,” beams Chris. “When the first

record came out, we were both working in a

crumbling record shop, maybe smoking too

much, and wouldn’t have thought we would

still be doing music nearly ten years later.”

HEYMUSIC.COM

29


FEATURE MUSIC BY NUMBERS

AMSTERDAM

DANCE EVENT

Since its inception, Amsterdam Dance Event

has grown and flourished into the king of

electronic music conferences. Each year,

a who’s who of the dance music world

descends on the city for five days crammed

with panels, workshops, showcases, tech

demonstrations and parties – lots and lots

of parties.

A networking haven, ADE attracts top-flight

DJs, artists, label managers, technology

giants, publishers and promoters through

to bedroom DJs, unsigned producers and

legions of dance music fans. It’s where deals

and discussions take place by day and

dancefloors are destroyed by night.

“We’re almost at the point of reaching the

magical 400,000 visitors mark, and we still

see lots of opportunities to grow,” says ADE

Director Richard Zijlma, as he prepares for

this year’s event to kick off on 17 October.

“ADE aims to be a world stage for musical

talent and the music industry,” he adds.

“With visitors from almost 100 countries now

you can confidently claim that Amsterdam

is truly the beating heart of the worldwide

music industry during ADE, while being at

the same time a breeding ground for cultural

and technological innovation for five days

and nights.”

Here’s ADE in numbers…

30 OCTOBER 2018


Launched: 1995

Duration of inaugural event:

3 days

Attendance at inaugural event:

300 delegates with

30 DJs performing

Duration today: 5 days from

17 – 21 October 2018

No. of artists: over 2500

No. of professional delegates:

9000

Number of panels and

workshops: 120+

Number of speakers: 550

No. of venues: 140 across

Amsterdam’s 5 main districts

No. of festival visitors: 395,000

from 90 countries

No. of festival visitors expected

this year: 400,000

Focus country this year:

South Korea – the 8th largest

music market in the world,

generating $4.7 billion in global

sales last year

HEYMUSIC.COM

31


FEATURE KATHY SLEDGE

PLAY

Watch the full

interview on Hey Music’s

YouTube channel

LOST

I N

MUSIC

Kathy Sledge, of Sister Sledge fame, opens up about her

long career and colliding with destiny

Words_Aasha Bodhani

32 OCTOBER 2018



The

most innovate artists are

the ones that write from

the heart and follow their

passion. You can’t fool your audience, if you

try and write songs that aren’t really you, it’s

always going to be hard to perform.”

With a career spanning five decades, Kathy

Sledge is well placed to give advice on how

to master the music industry. Philadelphiaborn

Kathy and her older siblings Debbie,

Kim and the late Joni, formed Sister

Sledge in 1971 and became one of the

most successful female supergroups of the

disco era, a time epitomized by DJ David

Mancuso’s sets at The Loft and also by New

York’s infamous Studio 54.

“I remember back then, I was actually a

minor; I got the chance to go [to Studio 54]

and our mum was with us,” recalls Kathy. “I

wasn’t allowed to drink, but I watched. It was

like a movie where the music just brought

everyone to life. I definitely feel like I grew up

in that era...”

Kathy and her sisters were trained by their

opera-singing grandmother, Viola Williams,

and were first billed as the snappily-named

Mrs Williams’ Grandchildren. At the age

of 14, she took vocal lead on Mama Never

Told Me, which became a Top 20 hit in

the UK in 1975.

After record label

Atlantic hooked the

girls up with Nile

Rogers and Bernard

Edwards, of Chic,

their 1979 released

We Are Family

album catapulted

them to superstardom. Songs from that

album – We Are Family, He’s the Greatest

Dancer and Lost in Music – remain evergreen

party classics known around the globe.

Kathy, who departed the band in 1989

to pursue a solo career, can call herself a

singer, songwriter, author, manager and

producer these days, but the stage still holds

a certain thrill.

She won plaudits for her journey into new

terrain with her critically acclaimed show,

The Brighter Side of Day – a tribute to the

’40s and the legendary Billie Holiday, and

with her sisterhood roots, she created Kathy

Sister Sledge: the early years

“It really is the music

that’s the backbone

of the most

successful plays”

Sledge presents: My Sisters & Me, a concert

series where Kathy and an array of singing

‘sisters’, including Deniece Williams, Karyn

White and CeCe Peniston, perform classic

hits. Kathy also tells her own intimate story,

dubbed the Sister Sledge Storybook, where

she performs songs that define her journey.

“As I’ve been putting these productions

together, it really is the music that’s the

backbone of the most successful plays;

it’s all there, all the mechanics to make it

happen,” Kathy says with passion.

Though disco lost mainstream popularity,

plenty of modern

day artists have all

made a nod to it in

their productions,

including Daft Punk,

Pharrell Williams,

Justin Timberlake and

Bruno Mars. “It’s funny

because disco, dance,

whatever you want to call it, has reinvented

itself to a whole new generation. The

newness of that is really cool, it’s special,”

reflects Kathy.”

Looking back, Kathy knows what advice

she would now give to her younger self. “Be

more daring,” she says. “I would always get

offered to do solo projects, but I was like,

‘No, no, we’re in a group’. But I like the fact

that I did the family thing.”

The most important thing, she says, is

always to be true to yourself. “A colleague of

mine says, ‘When your passion meets your

purpose, you collide with destiny’.”

HEYMUSIC.COM

33


FEATURE OPINION

LET’S

TALK

ABOUT IT

contributor Mosely Trybez

from S4Freshness.com thinks it’s

time for more conversation – and

action – surrounding the mental

health crisis in hip-hop

Kanye West

Over

the past five years, the

hip-hop aesthetic has

been reimagined. The definition of what it

means to be a rapper has been redefined.

Artists have become much larger entities

outside of music; in some instances the

quality of music they release takes a

backseat to the social influence they wield

over the listener.

Standards for those nominated into this

industry have been lowered. A blueprint for

success has been laid out in order to gain

fans’ attention, but it’s not the same blueprint

left to us by Jay-Z back in 2001.

Sure, rappers like 2Pac Shakur, Chuck D

and Queen Latifah transcended their musical

careers with social and political impact, but

today – in the “microwave era” – the majority

of newer artists are able to assemble cultlike

followings at lightening speed.

Artists who command hip-hop today are

getting younger. How do they cope with this

responsibility? Are they prepared for the

demands? Mental health is a swiftly growing

and very real concern.

Kid Cudi

Back in 2016, Drake and Kid Cudi got into

a spat that left some questioning Drake’s

sympathy toward those who deal with mental

and emotional distress. In Drizzy’s track Two

Birds One Stone, he rapped at Cudi: “You

were the man on the moon/Now you just go

through your phases/Life of the angry and

famous/Rap like I know I’m the greatest/Then

give you the tropical flavours/Still never been

on hiatus/You stay Xanned and Perc’d up/So

when reality set in you don’t gotta face it.”

What was then looked at as a harsh few

bars was accompanied by some jarring truth.

Drugs have become a trendy remedy to cope

34 OCTOBER 2018


Lil Peep

into drug-infused-rap and the kids love it,

streaming platforms allowing consumption

without filter. Life imitates art; if our curators

are doing what we all love from a destructive

mind state, how long before impressionable

fans follow suit?

All genres of music have this issue to

tackle. Earlier this year, international pop

star Demi Lovato found herself in the midst

of an apparent overdose. She had been

battling mental illness and addiction for

years. Fortunately, she was immediately

hospitalised after overdosing, which saved

her life. The electronic dance music scene

was sent reeling when world renowned EDM

DJ and producer Avicii committed suicide

while on holiday in Oman. He was 28. Even

Hip-hop is littered

with artists who

don’t know they’re

suffering

Mac Miller

with the stress and responsibility brought

on by the music business. Last November,

21-year-old rapper on the rise Lil Peep died

from of drug overdose and, more recently,

26-year-old hip-hop star Mac Miller’s death

was drug related.

Just as Morpheus told Neo, the rabbit hole

is deep. Hip-hop is littered with artists who

don’t know they’re suffering; there are music

moguls enabling said artists and listeners

who are affected directly. Artists like J. Cole,

who make a conscious decision to use

their music to champion a healthy lifestyle,

are outnumbered. Trap-rap has morphed

Kanye West took his own approach to telling

the world that he may be in need of help by

captioning his June released Ye album cover

with the statement: “I hate being bi-polar,

it’s awesome.” It’s not uncharacteristic of Ye

to be controversial but this message gave a

little more cause for pause and reflection.

There’s been a concerted effort to bring

mental health issues to the fore in the dance

scene. The Association for Electronic Music

has teamed up with Help Musicians UK to

provide a 24/7 support hotline, while last

year Pioneer DJ Sounds released Why We

DJ – Slaves To The Rhythm, an eye-opening

film that illuminates mental health issues in

electronic music.

More and more artists are now being open

about their fight with mental health and drug

abuse. But there’s a tonne of work needs to

be done to fully address the situation. We

need to talk more. We need to continue to

have these conversations and ensure they

always take precedence over mundane

subject matters so we can battle mental

health issues in hip-hop more effectively.

HEYMUSIC.COM

35


FEATURE RAMZ

PLAY

Listen to Ramz’ top tunes

on Hey Music’s

YouTube channel

MAKE

BELIEVE

From stacking supermarket shelves to chart success and

award nominations, it’s been a whirlwind year for Ramz

Words_Chelsea Garwood

36 OCTOBER 2018


If

ever there was a great example of

believing in yourself, Ramz is it. When

his two nominations in GRM Daily’s Rated

Awards were announced earlier this year – for

Breakthrough [Artist] of the Year and Track

of the Year for Barking – the young artist told

his fans on Twitter: “Less than a year ago

someone said to me that I should stop music

because I was embarrassing myself. I told

myself I can do anything I want if I put my mind

to it.”

While he might not have

walked away with any

gongs from the recent

awards ceremony in

London, he can be proud

of an incredible year that

started with his Barking

track peaking at No.2 in the

UK charts in January.

catches up with

the talented young singer, songwriter and

rapper from Mitcham, South London…

We reckon you’re having a pretty

momentous year so far…

I’m grateful with how everything’s gone. During

the early part of the year everything was going

so fast, which is nice, but it’s also nice to be

able to have time for new upcoming work you

want out.

Your Two Sides of a Coin EP, released in

June, featured Trapped and Get Whatever I

Want Or Like. What inspired those?

I was at a point where everything was moving

so fast as I was still very new, with scenarios in

the scene both positive or negative. I wanted

to put out how I was feeling at that moment of

time and let my supporters see a side of me

not many see, hence Two Sides of a Coin.

The two-single release was essentially put

into in a mini EP format so that was just a

snippet of what’s to come from me.

TOP 5 FAVOURITE SONGS?

1. MoStack What I Wanna

2. Ella Mai Boo’d Up

3. Raye Confidence

4. Burna Boy feat J Hus Sekkle Down

5. Fredo Never

When you released Barking, did you think

it would ever reach No.2 in the charts?

Not in a million years! Honestly, to see how

far the song has grown from performing it at

showcases to packed out radio events is an

unexplainable feeling, and one I’ll definitely

treasure forever.

What’s the most important thing you’ve

learned from experiencing sudden fame?

Never take your supporters for granted. There

is always someone coming up next and your

fans are the reason you will continue to grow,

in my opinion.

Being in the public eye can be hard. How

do you deal with haters and negative

comments?

Always surround yourself

with good company and

ensure you never take

things too truly. In the

world of social media

everyone has an opinion

and as an artist in this era

you just have to be able to

adapt and remain relevant

for the right reasons.

Your track Family Tree [released in April] is

about growing up with people you love in

Mitcham. What are your fondest memories

of Mitcham?

Just the town as a whole. The local football

cages we would play at, the back streets

where we would ride our bikes, and even the

youth club where I dominated at table tennis.

It made my friends’ memories and mine and

gave us the somewhat togetherness we carry

today.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

J Hus. He is probably the best right now in our

scene.

What advice would you give to young

upcoming artists?

Always believe in your ability and the process.

It won’t be easy but it’ll definitely be worth it.

What can we look forward to from you?

A full EP incoming and surprise collaborations.

HEYMUSIC.COM

37


BACKSTAGE

BOSSING IT!

UK-based Nikki Wright-McNeill runs her own PR company, working with a

worldwide network of journalists, broadcasters, bloggers and tastemakers

to spread the message about artists, music festivals and events.

Here, she gives a quick insight into her route to becoming her own

boss in the music industry…

“My first job was as a receptionist at V2

Records, where I actually made tea for

Richard Branson. As a girl, there were limited

options to get into the music business at

the time and you had to start at the bottom

as receptionist or PA. After missing out on

the marketing assistant job that went to

the post boy because I was apparently ‘too

valuable on reception’, I got my first job in

PR at Pioneer, who were launching their own

record label. This gave me my first real taste

of the music business and I was hooked.

“After Pioneer I worked at Neo Records,

working on artists

such as Darude in

the height of the

trance explosion

in the late ’90s,

before moving to DJ

agency IMD where

I was lucky to work

with artists such

as Pete Tong, Jeff Mills, Danny Rampling

and Smokin’ Jo. The DJ agency also gave

me a taste of how global the industry was

and how many amazing clubs and festivals

there were around the world, and that was

something that really excited me.

“In 2007 I launched my own company,

Global Publicity, specialising in promoting

artists, festivals and music-led events

“I feel lucky to be in

a position to work

with clients I truly

believe in”

around the world to media in the UK and

internationally. Celebrating 10 years of Global

was a fantastic milestone to reach and gave

me an incredible sense of achievement with

clients such as Secret Solstice [Iceland], Exit

Festival [Serbia], Amsterdam Dance Event,

Lowlands [The Netherlands] and Sziget

Festival [Hungary].

“I feel lucky to be in a position to only

work with clients I truly believe in, giving me

an authentic and trustworthy voice in the

industry, which I feel is important. I have to

be true to myself and honest. I also enjoy

constantly learning as

I regularly contribute

to industry panels at

music conferences.

“The industry has

changed since the

early days. The biggest

difference is that when

I started I could just

concentrate on what I was doing. Now it

feels like you have to watch your back, with

more people on the prowl for your clients or

your clients are bought by private equity

firms. I still believe there’s enough [work] for

everyone in the industry, but having that

thought in the back of your mind does take

some of the fun out of it. I just want to work

with people I like and on projects I love.”

38 OCTOBER 2018


HEY UPFRONT

BRITISH

COMPOSER

AWARDS 2018

TUESDAY 4

DECEMBER

BRITISH MUSEUM

LONDON

NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED

MONDAY 1 NOVEMBER

Contact awards@basca.org.uk

Website britishcomposerawards.com

Twitter @ComposerAwards

Presented by

Sponsored by

In association with

The British Composer Awards promote the art

of composition, recognise the creative talent of

composers and

heymusic.com_Oct.2018_39

sound artists, and bring their

music to a wider audience.


HEY UPFRONT

40_Oct.2018_heymusic.com

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